WAVERLY – Due to the growing number of players going out for volleyball, the Waverly High School program will add a fourth team for the 2020-21 school year.

The District 145 Board of Education approved adding the team and a coach during its July 6 meeting.

The board was told that the extra team and coach would provide more opportunities for students to stay involved in volleyball. As a result, they would develop better volleyball skills and learn other lessons through the program like teamwork and leadership. The fourth team will also help the Waverly High School volleyball program compete with the top teams in the Eastern Midlands Conference (EMC) and the state.

The board was provided with information about the success of the local youth volleyball program in support of the proposal. The VikeSpikes youth volleyball program started six years ago with just 14 players from the fourth grade. Since then, the program has expanded to include grades 1 to 6. Last year, 152 youngsters played volleyball in the program. In addition, the middle school volleyball program had 36 players in grades 7 and 8 last year, and another 16 from those grades played intramural volleyball. Other youth programs and club teams are also growing.

Because of the growing numbers of players going out for volleyball in recent years, the coaches have had to hold tryouts and were forced to cut some players. This fall, without a fourth team, the coaching staff anticipated they would have to cut 15 to 19 players, which is the equivalent of two full teams.

A fourth team will be easily integrated into the practice schedule and will provide more scrimmage opportunities, the board was also told.

The board was told that volleyball programs in most Class A schools have at least four teams and the trend is moving to Class B as well. For example, Omaha Skutt Catholic, Norris and York have four teams.

The new coach will be paid at the Category VI level, which is 8.25% of their base salary. This is the same level the current assistant coaches are paid.

In other action, the school board approved hiring Debbie Hennessey as the district’s new transportation director effective July 1. The board also set the fee for cross-town transportation at $85 per individual student and $110 for a family for the 2020-21 school year.

The policy says the district provides transportation via bus to eligible students who live outside of the city limits of the community where their attendance center is located. Students who live inside the city limits of Waverly and Eagle are offered at-cost route service. Students that option into District 145 from another school district can use district transportation but are picked up and dropped off at designated sites. The district also provides transportation to students in the district who attend state-approved, nonprofit private schools, to the extent required by law.

The board also hired Caitlin Bell as the new English language arts teacher at Waverly Middle School for the 2020-21 school year. She replaces Emily Finley.

The board approved resignations from the following non-certified staff: Jayne Olson, food service worker, Waverly High School; Michael Beals, district technical assistant, Waverly High School; Kelly Everson, paraprofessional, Hamlow Elementary School; Jen Wilke, volleyball coach, Waverly Middle School and Janette Malick, paraprofessional, Hamlow Elementary School.

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